wanting her father to be the kind of dad who paid attention, devoted his focus
to her, heck, she hoped he would actually move in with her and her mother so
they could be a “complete” family. Her
hopes for her father never came true, but God had a plan still. Her name is
Alexandra Kuykendall (MOPS, International team member, MOPS mom, and author of
the book The Artist’s Daughter [Revell, 2013]). Sometimes our expectations for others cloud what they have given to us.
realistic about it. When they were frustrated my brother and I knew it, and
knew why because they would tell us. We saw them argue. We saw them greet
each other with a kiss when my dad would come home from work. My mom would
literally stop what she was doing, go to the door, and kiss him every day when
he came home. My parents, though, had some tough parenting education early in their lives-the conduct of their parents.
Alexandra wanted the security that boring and normal could offer when she grew
up. She planned on being a stay-at-home mom, being totally devoted to her
husband, and living in one place. She wanted the life for her children that she did not have offered to
her by her parents. I know my parents thought that way.
It went smack up against the
‘what’s right for one person may not be
know God away from her family. It was not her parents who taught her about
Jesus. She said she felt “pursued by
God” (p.43). As I reflect on a sermon I heard at my church, it is often those
moments when we feel the most alone, confused and frustrated, where God is
providing his loudest messages to us-are we listening to Him? In Alexandra’s
life, her father never measured up to her expectations, but was it in God’s
plan to help guide her to look for characteristics that would be best in a husband and
Her childhood was what many of us would call exotic, but she wanted
something more-“…the downside to adventure is insecurity” (p.25). She felt more
was to have a stable marriage, a normal life where you live in one place and
don’t travel all around the globe picking up just as you set down roots. (Oh
how I can relate to that being a military spouse!) Two parents committed to their children while
remaining committed to each other as well. God provides us with challenges to
reach us, teach us and strengthen us. We
are to face the frustrating, uncomfortable, and trying times with faith.
realize how much loving parents really do love their children-and I do consider
myself a loving parent-not perfect, but loving without end. It also made me understand how much parents miss out on when they do not approach parenting in a loving way by not viewing their
children as a blessing. I appreciate both the experiences of parents who give
love and the parents who never learned how. We can learn from both.
if it was true that my imperfection as a mother was inevitable, how did
I balance what I wanted with what I could realistically offer?”
we know that commandment. We are not told to honor them only if they are
what we expect. It tells us to honor our parents. We can honor them for what
they have given us-by learning the lessons they taught.
They may not have given you support, or hugs, or gentleness, or forgiveness
when you wanted it, but they still taught you lessons through it all.
(or a few), it became our job to teach them life lessons. No matter the kind of
mother or father we had, God has a plan for us and our children. He has
unending grace for us when we feel that we fail, and he has unending grace for
our parents-no matter how we think they may have failed.
how childhood does shape our expectations for our adult lives. At some point,
we have to offer grace to our parents (and our children and our spouses and ourselves) even if we think they did not measure up and realize
that the only one who needs to hold the ruler is God. He gets to judge others
and us-we do not.
learned by way of our experiences Don’t ignore the experiences of
Choose to do what only you can do.
God is calling us, but we have to be listening in the
moments when we are afraid or feeling strong-he is in both.
love that you did not have or continue to share the stored up love that you did receive. Your parents do not define who you are, but they
have provided lessons. We can offer grace to our parents
for teaching us both what to do and what not to do.
we veer down a path that he does not intend for us to travel, because we will
International to read Alexandra’s book and to voluntarily work on the MOPS, International Street Team to help share it with my readers, friends, and
For More on Overcoming:
4 Steps to Dealing with Your Past
Be the parent only you can be,
Enjoy your time at home!